Dirleton Bowling and Social Club




Playing with two or three team mates is very different from pairs, and for many people it is the best way to enjoy bowls.  Fours is the particular favourite, and is far and away the most common form of the sport.  There are many reasons for this besides the obvious one of making the most efficient use of a club's facilities.  The team game maximises the companionable feature of bowls, and this can be most welcome, even for the top players after the stress of singles.  Nothing is more enjoyable than being a member of a really close-knit harmonious team.

Tactically, the team game is utterly fascinating.  The harnessing of several individuals  talents  and temperaments to the pursuit of a shared goal is immensely challenging, and to do it successfully  is one of the most rewarding of human activities..  To examine how that is done it is best to analyse  the various positions on the team, as they contribute to the team effort.

A top team must have team spirit like this!


We must emphasise the importance of the draw shot, it is therefore not surprising that we consider the "lead's" function utterly critical to team success.  It is the natural starting point for the novice.  It would be less than wise for the novice not to see that the lead position was his natural home.  However there is a tendency to wish to progress down the team order, as though it were promotion.  At club level this is widely encouraged, where a promising lead will not have to wait long for such a 'promotion '.  Hence the attitude so often encountered that dismisses the lead as either a beginner or a bowler whose limitations prevent further progress.   

After all, he only has to bowl the jack to the length his skipper dictates, and then draw a couple of shots.  This is wrong!  Setting the length and bowling these first woods is a matter of utmost importance, as any no 2 can vouch for.  There is all the difference in the world between shaping up to play into a head with two well placed draws courtesy of your lead, and looking for a salvage shot to clear up a mess.


If you are a promising lead at club level, and see the wisdom of staying for some time in that position in order to hone your draw shot, what is your best course of action?  Do not allow yourself to be rushed down the order.  Instead try and become such a good lead that a stronger team snaps you up for the same position.   Really good leads are like gold dust, and are likely to make good skips if that is where their ambition lies.

Because the lead only plays the draw shot it is a specialist position (uniquely) and some specialist leads are so good that they never show any interest in moving down the order.


In terms of his two vital deliveries, the lead has similar concerns to those of the singles player at the start of an end, but not identical.  Both are trying to set up a favourable head, but in singles, there is considerable pressure to emerge from the first two bowls holding shot.  To do so does not always result in winning the end, but with only four bowls to come it is better to be one up than one down.  It puts pressure on the opponent to change the situation.  This is not the case for the lead in the 4's game.  With 12 bowls to come there is no great merit in holding shot, at least for its own sake.  There will be ample opportunity to convert the head later on at a time of maximum advantage.  What the lead has to do is to get two good bowls into the head to make life for the opposition as difficult as possible and must never, repeat never be short.  Nor should he be jack high to present a target for his opponent.  He should guard against too tight a line as a bowl which hooks past in front of the jack will have very little further influence on the outcome of the end.  If holding shot with his first delivery then do not put his second one alongside and present a target.  If his opponent is holding shot he should try and come alongside to give his no 2 a target.  Never try and remove an opponents bowl this is the task for a later player.


Having stressed the importance of the 'lead' that is still the best position for the novice, not just for his sake but because the demands on the no.2 are too great.  He is faced with the task of either consolidating a good position or salvaging a bad one.  He comes to the mat to face a situation not of his own making.  Either his lead has established a solid foundation for the head or he has not.  If the former the no.2 must build on that foundation, hoping to leave his no.3 in a really dominant position.  If the latter he must do everything in his power to retrieve the situation, knowing that if he fails in this task  his team-mates may be left chasing a forlorn cause.

If the situation is favourable, his skip will either ask him to protect the shot bowl(s) or get his bowls into the head in such a way as to provide insurance for later developments.. Either way positional shots are called for, so the  no.2 must not only be a good draw player but he must also be able to vary the line and length at will.  This is particularly difficult during the early stages and the no.2 who is first in the groove will give his team a real boost

If the head is unfavourable when the no.2 comes to the mat, his course of action is radically different.  If his lead has not got a bowl close, then the skip will direct him to get right into the head, either to take shot or at least to get bowls into position for a conversion later on.  Failure to do so can lead to disaster, because it may leave the opposition with a virtually impregnable head.  The no.2 can be described as the anchor man of the side.  Unlike the lead he is anything but a specialist position, calling upon the complete range of shots.   

There is a particular practice routine that will give the no.2 insight into his task and is equally useful for singles.  Make up a head of 4 bowls, haphazardly, two aside.  Then study it, decide on the percentage shot and play it.  Note the result.  Repeat the exercise several times.  You will develop your power to read any situation.


It is impossible to describe the role of the no.3 in purely bowling terms.  As far as that aspect is concerned, it is enough to say that the no.3 must be an all round good bowler, since he will face every conceivable situation when he comes to the mat.  In particular he will be called upon to play a wide variety of running shots, so he must be confident of weight.  He should be a good singles player.  The no. 3 is also tasked with measuring the head, marking his skips touchers and removing 'dead' bowls.

The skip awaits his no.3's bowl.  The skip must call the shots but will be unwilling to go against his no.3's  own judgment

The real key to the position is the no.3's relationship with the skip.  He is the skip's close partner, his right hand.  So the blend of personalities is very important.  He must have confidence in his skip and vice versa, always acknowledging that the skip takes precedence.  At club level the more senior members tend to gravitate to the lower orders.  Dissension in a team is ruinous, and even an undercurrent of resentment will surely damage performance and mar the pleasure of the game.

His tactical discussions with the skip should take place at the head, and never when the skip is on the mat.  He must also provide the link between the skip and the other team members, with an easy rapport throughout the team with communication lines through the no.3.

Beyond that  it is impossible to define a good no.3.  An excellent no.3 for one skip may be no use to another, for entirely personal reasons.  It may be lack of respect, either way, a clash of personalities or simply a lack of balance between personalities.  For example if the skip is a reserved, quite type, it would seem desirable for the no.3 to be outgoing.  Indeed if there is any generalisation worth making it is that the good no.3 is more likely to be an extrovert rather than an introvert, because of his role as a communicator.  However if his outgoing personality is too boisterous for the skip's taste, of if he is too free with his advice (from the skip's point of view) what then?  

In a sense the best no.3 is the no. 3 the skip feels most comfortable and confident playing with.  As in all team sports the personalities must balance!


As team leader, the skip is the most important role of the four.  Whilst his two bowls may not be more important than anyone else's, coming when they do they can hardly be less important.  On top of this is placed the burden of directing the team.  Good leadership qualities are universal in their application, and widely understood - even if not so widely practiced.  There is no need to dwell on such characteristics as vision, judgment, commitment, firmness, fairness and tact.  The good skip will display all these, and any other favourable attributes that the circumstances demand.

His primary task is to provide his small band of warriors  with purposeful direction. From opening bowl to final shot his must be the guiding intelligence behind every action.  His relationship with each team member will be different, because their functions are different but in each case his aim must be to enable.  He must get the best possible performance from each of his crew, by whatever means.  In every way connected with the enterprise the skip must have the unqualified respect of his teammates and to obtain that respect he must earn it.


We will examine the relationship of the skip with each team position in turn, but first with the whole team.  High morale is the invaluable byproduct of team confidence.  The skip must conduct himself in such a way as to inspire that confidence and communicate to others what it is he wants them to achieve making them believe they can achieve it.  He must make them feel totally involved in the corporate activity.  Even when they lose, the morale remains intact.

Therefore everything that has been said about the necessity of the no.3 to be a good communicator holds true for the skip. He must give advice where it is helpful, instruction were it is required, and encouragement at all times.

The lead knows what is required of him, so all the skip has to ensure is that the lead goes to the mat in in a positive frame of mind.  Generally the skip will select the length of jack he wants the lead to deliver, but not always.  Sometimes he will allow the lead to chose his own length of jack.

A skip indicates where she
wants the next bowl

Thereafter the skip will want to make the choice because it is a tactical matter involving the team as a whole (bearing in mind the two objectives of suiting your team and frustrating the opposition).  The same holds true for mat placement.


The no.2 now enters the fray. Unless it is too obvious to point out, the skip will make the choice of shot perhaps in consultation with his no. 3 and having taken into account his relevant knowledge of the no.2's bowling capacities, hand preference and so on.  But it is his choice, since the tactical campaign is on, and the entire tactical responsibility is his.  When he gives his instructions, here, and everywhere in the course of the match, the skip should do so with clarity, precision and with confidence.

There may be times when the skip may have practical advice for a team member which he should not be slow to give in an appropriate manner.  The thoughtful skip will be unfailingly encouraging when a member of the team is struggling.

The no.3 and the skip are together for most of the match, they should know each others games inside out and should share a joint perception of the situation in which the no.3 must play his bowls.  Most of the time they will reach a consensus on the shot the no.3 should play but in the event of there being a disparity of view the no.3 must defer to his skip whilst realising that it goes against his skips instincts to ask a player to play a shot about which he is not entirely happy.  In such a case the no.3 should always play the shot asked and with all his skill.


When the skip himself comes to bowl, the battle moves to its inevitable climax.  The tactical considerations can be legion, and the skip will rely on his no.3 to help him clarify his thinking as he weighs the possibilities.  Here is where the relationship between the two is at its most critical, and where the no.3 requires a subtle as well as an astute mind.

He will want to provide the best possible advice, and he should not shirk from trying to persuade the skip of the correctness of his views.  But, not only has the skip to make the final decision, as always, but this time he has to deliver the bowl himself.  The no.3 therefore has to weigh the objective situation in the head against the subjective nature of the skip's own mind.  

This is not so much a matter of tact, since the two of them discuss shot selection endlessly, and it would be a flawed partnership if the skip took any disagreement personally.  It is more a question of enabling the skip to go to the mat certain that he has made the correct choice.

It is at this critical juncture that imperative outweighs fine distinctions between choices of shot, and so the no.3 must know when to desist, just as the skip must know when to insist.


You do not develop good technique in a vacuum or in front of a mirror - you do so by bowling, whether on the practice green or under match conditions.  Fundamental to playing any shot, is an adequate command of line and length.  Nothing else so rewards accuracy - or punishes inaccuracy.   On the basis of good line and length all shots within the game come within reach.


There is an old saying in bowling circles "The game comes down to the three L words - "Line, Length and Luck".  There is nothing to be said about the last of these except to wish you have it, but the other two provide the key to successful bowling.  It is no exaggeration to say that any bowler with unvarying mastery of line and length would be unbeatable and that persistently wayward line and length makes victory impossible.  In reality the two are conjoined in a single event - the shot.  But it is necessary to view them in isolation for instructional purposes.

Whether you pick your aiming point on the bank or bowl to the imaginary shoulder of the arc along the line to such a point, the true shoulder, where the bowl actually turns inward., is necessarily inside the true shoulder

The line is the path the bowl takes from the point at which it leaves the hand till it reaches its destination somewhere up the green.  The correct line, therefore, is the path the bowl must take to arrive at the destination you have chosen for it.  That destination might be another bowl  (either your own or your opponents), a displaced jack or a position on the green selected for tactical considerations, but most of the time it will be the jack in its original position, centred at a particular length.  In discussing the theory of line, it is assumed that the last mentioned is the case.  The line is the path to the jack.

Clearly the bowl cannot arrive at the jack by correct line alone but only by the marriage of correct line and correct length.  When delivered, the bowl describes an arc, and the arc is determined by the sideways pull of the bowl resulting from the bias acting upon its forward momentum.  In the early stages of its journey, the bowls momentum is at its greatest and the influence of the bias is at its weakest and the arc is comparatively tight.  As the bowl looses speed in the later stages the influence of the bias increases and the arc becomes more noticeable.  In the end the bowl slows down and homes in (you hope) on its target.

Imagine three bowls delivered in such a way that they come to rest in different positions along the centre line of the green , i.e. one on the jack, one short and one beyond.  In all three cases they got there because the line selected, was the line, and the  only line that correctly anticipated the effect of the bias on the running bowl.  As the bias is a constant factor, it follows that the line for each bowl was exactly the same line.  It was only the weight of the shot that took the bowls to different positions along the centre line, but the line did not change, assuming of course, that the green is perfectly flat along its entire running surface, but this can never be the case.  Therefore the line to the jack is more accurately described as the line to the centre of the rink played with 'jack weight'.

On a heavy green the arc is  relatively narrow and the shoulder relatively close to the mat.

On a fast green the arc is wide, sometimes so wide as to take the bowl into the adjacent rink and the shoulder is far down the line

The primacy of line - 'finding that line' for your bowls, on the rink on which you are playing, up and down the green forehand and backhand,  must be your no1 priority when you first step onto the mat.  During the trial ends you will be trying to get a feel for length as well, but if you take a bit of time to find the length, is less serious than being slow to pick out the line.  Bowlers vary in their approach to finding the line, but in one respect there is unanimity.  In order to have a point of aim, you have to visualise the bowls journey, and in particular when it begins to curve towards the jack.  The point at which it does this, the widest point in the arc of the bowl is called the shoulder of the arc and is generally between two thirds and three fifths of the way down the green.  If you correctly gauge the shoulder of the arc and get your bowl to it, then you are by definition, on line.

The commonest way of going about this is to extend the imaginary line from the shoulder of the arc to a static feature on the far bank , a chair or any object  which you can see at the end of the imaginary line.  That becomes your target. When aiming for the shoulder of the arc, one must bear in mind the fact that, bias comes into play the second the bowl leaves your hand ; so if you were to aim for the 'true shoulder' you would miss it and be on a line inside it.  Therefore you must determine the point in a straight line ahead of you that will have the effect of getting the bowl to the 'true shoulder' of the arc.  The imaginary shoulder' is always outside the 'true shoulder' not far outside on a slow green which minimises bias, but several feet outside it on a fast green which exaggerates bias.


Bowling to a desired length is by general consent the most difficult area of the game.  Line, once you have found it unless you are on a really dreadful green, remains pretty constant through out a match.  There will be occasions when you want to deliver a positional bowl off the centre line, and for those shots you will have to determine a new line, either inside or outside the line to the jack. The technical demands required to achieve this, are nothing like as great as those concerning length.  Quite apart from the playing conditions of the green, which obviously determine the weight of the shot required to achieve the objective, the length of the shot is constantly changing.  The length of the jack varies from end to end, one shot you want to the jack, the next you may wish to play beyond the jack and a third to come to get alongside an opposition bowl, the last with controlled weight to rearrange the head in your favour.  Each of those shots imposes particular conditions on your basic 'grooved' delivery.

In bowling parlance propulsion is known simply as 'weight of shot', and the factors you need to understand to control weight of shot come right back to stance and delivery. For detailed information on differing types of stance  and the effects it would have on your delivery please read the appropriate chapter in 'Bowl to Win' by David Bryant and Tony Allcock.  Finally the grip has a role to play in controlling weight.  If you use a 'claw' grip you will clasp the bowl firmly as you deliver it with pace.  But for 'touch' shots you will ease off on the grip, caressing the bowl as you ground it.  To a lesser extent this is true for the cradle grip as well, although the 'cradle' is a more relaxed method of holding the bowl in the first place

Length is determined by two factors working in opposition to the propulsion you impart to the bowl when you deliver it and the resistance it encounters from the surface over which it is rolling.  Because the resistance varies so widely from surface to surface, so to must the propulsion, in order to reach the same length on varied surfaces.  

Regardless of the weight of the shot attempted, never curtail the follow-through, which is an essential part of even the most delicate of shots. Follow-through does not impart weight; it is the final stage in your commitment to follow line'.


"In discussing any aspect of delivery, I always come back to the importance of achieving a smooth, rhythmic action.  Too often I have seen players try to control length by concentrating overmuch on one aspect - say the step forward, and that can lead to a jerky delivery.  There is a natural relationship between the backswing and the forward step, as there is when you walk, fast or slow.  If the height of your stance and the length of your backswing is suited to the pace of the green, the step forward and follow-through should come automatically.

Viewed in terms of length , my own delivery is of the athletic variety, because I rise from the crouch (where sight a line) prior to the delivery of the bowl.  The difference between mine and the conventional delivery from the athletic stance is that I rise to it.  The more weight I require, the higher I rise.  When I want to drive hard I abandon the crouch altogether.

Practice that grooved swing until it becomes second nature.  Bowling to a fixed jack will hone both line and length.  If you can get four bowls close, consistently, then there is nothing wrong with your swing.   Move the jack and do it again,.  String out four jacks along differing lengths, from short to full, and deliver a bowl to each.  The skills involved here form the basis of your game and you cannot spend too much time over them."

The Draw Shot.

The draw shot is by far the most important shot in the game justifying its description as the 'bread and butter shot'. If you fail to come to terms with this shot you will never be a competent bowler and only by mastering it will you become a really good one.  The object of the game of bowls is to get your bowl as close to the jack as possible and for the most part that means drawing to the jack.  The draw shot however, means much more than drawing to the jack, even if that is its most common application.  Any positional shot is a draw whether short or long, on the line of the jack or elsewhere on the green along another line.  Then consider all these shots into the head where you are trying to move an opponents bowl, promote your own, trail the jack and so on.   In each of these cases you take more green or less, add weight or take it off.  In every case that modification, more or less is in relation to the draw.   The most elementary draw shot is the one to an open jack.  If you start off by playing the lead in a team you have plenty of opportunity to practice it, and there can be no better experience.  First thing a lead has to do is select the truer side of the rink, and one is usually truer than the other (outdoors).  Once that choice has been made you should stick to it bowling forehand one way and backhand the other. Occasionally a rink will be playing truer down one side and up the other in which case you will want to stick to the appropriate hand, but that is very much the exception to the rule.  The tendency for preference for one hand  over the other must be strongly resisted.  Assuming sound technique , the deliveries are identical , leg body and arm moving directly down the line of delivery, the only difference is grounding the bowl about a foot outside the mat (forehand ) and near the backhand corner of the mat (backhand).  You should find no greater difficulty in grounding the bowl in one spot and the other.  But, if you do initially feel less confident on a particular hand, strive to overcome that feeling.

Whilst drawing to a fixed jack is the norm during the early stages of an end, as the head builds up the jack is likely to be moved from its spot, often a considerable distance away.  Drawing to a displaced jack necessitates an adjustment to line or length, usually both.  Assuming you have a good command of both, that should not be too difficult.  However, the realities of outdoor bowling add a slight complication.  The grass immediately around the centre line, jack high is where most of the action takes place and tends to get flattened by both bowls and feet.  If the jack gets moved out to fresh grass the bowl will encounter increased resistance as it gets to it.  This requires you to tighten your line a little and increase the strength


Positional Draw

The Positional Draw

This term refers to any drawshot that is not directed at the jack.  That is, to  a particular position on the green, invariably for tactical considerations.  There are any number of reasons for playing a positional shot which need not be described in detail here.  From a technical standpoint it is exactly the same as drawing to the jack, with the desired position substituted for the jack, and line and length adjusted accordingly.  Two positional draws are very common, and merit their own name.  The 'rest shot' and 'the blocker'

The 'rest shot' is a delicate variation of the 'draw' employed when the jack is less accessible than the opponents shot bowl.  The shot bowl becomes the substitute jack, the aim being to come right up and 'rest' against it on the inside i.e. nearer the jack.

A blocker can be an invaluable weapon, and will often transform an end.  It is a short bowl intended to impede the opponents approach into  the head and is commonly used when the head is in your favour, but is vulnerable to counter attack. It is positioned close to the head where it will be most effective against the draw, and well short of the head to counter the effect of a drive.  A poorly executed blocker is, of course, a wasted bowl.

Running Shots

Strictly speaking any shot played with greater than  'draw' weight is a 'running shot', although at the gentler end of the spectrum, the 'running shots' have almost everything in common with the 'draw' itself and little in common with the full blooded 'drive' or firing shot'.  As you would expect, the shots in the middle of the spectrum combine features of both. For clarity's sake it is desirable to group the various running shots under three headings (a) the 'yard-on shot' and all its close relations that require just a little added weight (b) 'firm woods' which require stepping up a gear, (c)  'driving shots' which may vary in weight but are unmistakable aggressive in intent

The Yard-On Shot

This can be a confusing term because of its implied precision, a shot made with a yard more than draw weight. In fact a good case can be made for striking the term from the bowling vocabulary for precisely this reason.  It is common to see a skip indicate an opposition bowl which he wants removed and request a yard-on shot, when in reality, to achieve the result, the shot must be played with say '2 yards' of extra weight.  When the skip says 'yard-on' to his player, he really means sufficient weight to shift the offending bowl out of the way.  That is a very imprecise way of giving instructions .  The 'yard-on' is usually employed as a rescue shot when the head is against you but still salvageable, and may be the preferred option even when there is a clear route to the jack, if for example, you hold second wood, and need only remove the shot bowl and stay near to make a substantial count.

Yard-on shot


To execute any running shot you must allow for the fact that an increase in pace cuts down the effect of bias, so they are always straighter than the draw, more or less.  For the 'yard-on' it is only a little straighter on heavy greens, on very fast greens, even a yard of extra weight requires significant adjustment to line.

Trailing the Jack


Trailing the Jack

This involves bowling to the jack with enough added weight to pick the jack up and trail it to some other location, either further back in the head or all the way to the ditch .  The trail is generally reckoned the most difficult shot in the game , because the jack is such a small target in comparison to a bowl.  Not only is such pinpoint accuracy extremely difficult, even for the most accomplished bowlers, but a near-miss can be infinately worse than a bowl much wide of the mark.

Tap-and-Lie Shot

If you accept the convention of the 'yard-on' as a weighted bowl with anything between a yard and 2 yards running, the 'tap and lie, is a light 'yard-on' with about 2 feet of running.  The aim of the shot is to tap the object bowl out of the way, delicately  enough to lie in the position vacated .  Its alternative name is the wrest shot' because the object is to "wrest" possession of the object bowl's position.

Instead of picking-up the jack cleanly, it is dealt a glancing blow and slice it straight towards a waiting opposition bowl, the very last result desired.  This shot, therefore, must be approached with much circumspection.  It may often be an option, but it is rarely the 'best' option.  The 'trail' is usually reserved for the later stages of an end and in particular as a last shot, when your opponent is holding shot but you have bowls clustered behind.  A draw with your final bowl may give you the 'end' but a 'trail' would give you a successful 'count'.

The Wick and Plant


The wick is a ricochet shot, when the bowl comes into the head, cannons off another bowl and (maybe) approaches the jack by this circuitous route.  It is exactly the same as a 'cannon' in snooker parlance, but like the 'cannon' is likely to raise eyebrows if it produces a favourable result.  No matter if the jack cannot be approached directly and if there is a realistic chance of wicking onto it, then you should certainly consider this option.  The most favourable circumstances is where two or more bowls are tight together in the head, sitting in such a way that a ricochet in the right direction is the likely outcome of getting in amongst them.  The wick is best suited to  a medium paced green .

Before attempting a wick, weigh the odds.  It is unlikely that you would be tempted  by it if the head were in your favour.  However even if the head is against you what you must consider in such a chancy shot is the consequences of failure.  If you see a distinct possibility that a botched attempt would disturb the head in such a way as to worsen your plight then look for a less risky way of extricating yourself

If two bowls are actually touching , striking one will propel the other in a predictable direction.  Wherever you make contact with the first bowl the second will take off straight along the line in which it was placed in relation to the first.  As a bowler you should take a leaf from a snooker players book and be looking for 'plants' all the time, but it must be considered very carefully.  It can be ideal for promoting your own bowl, or for getting rid of an opponents.  Remember that if the two bowls are not actually touching, the plant looses its predictability.

The thing to remember with these shots and other shots into a mature head, is that they can be viewed as second choices.  They are basically 'yard-on' shots and when you look at the head, and work out what to play, consider the consequences of a near-miss.

Firm Woods

Firm Woods

Between these comparatively delicate running shots, and the 'drive' there lies a huge range of possible weights.  Firm woods sometimes called 'timing shots' are all those shots played with substantial but controlled weight .  The aim can be to take out an opponents bowl, promote your own or shake up a head that is unfavourable.  Whether it is a shot with several yards of weight, or a semi-drive, for example, trailing the jack to the ditch, the principle of delivery is the same.  The key point is that the weight is controlled, and there is some allowance for bias.

One of the most effective shots, is the 'run-through' where the head is closed with short bowls barring your way through to the jack.  If you can come into those short bowls with several yards of running, you should scatter them and find your own bowl running through by a yard or so and can transform the head in your favour.  This can be spectacular where there are two blocking bowls, side by side, not touching but with insufficient space to pass between them.  If you can hit the gap on the inside of either bowl you will split them and run sweetly through in a straight line

Firm woods are much favoured in Britain because the line is tighter and the weight more easily gauged on heavy greens.  The final consideration: wherever possible , when you are trying to take a bowl out of the head, attack it from the 'hand' that swings away from the head rather than toward the head.  As you are swinging across the head and out, an imperfect contact should propel the bowl away from the head, the alternative coming into the head could have regrettably consequences.

The Drive

The Drive

The most spectacular shot in the bowler's armoury is also the most controversial.  As little as a generation ago, the 'drive' was rather frowned upon in Britain, even unsporting.  In clubs today you can still encounter some distaste for the drive, certainly if it is employed routinely, rather than in exceptional circumstances.   It must be admitted that an over reliance in the drive does not make for attractive bowls.  Even the best exponents of the drive will admit that they win more by drawing than driving and if you play 'touch' shots well enough, you should not have to fall back on the drive very often.  Nevertheless, there are situations where the drive is the best available option.

The drive is essentially a rescue shot, often your last line of defence when the head is set against you and there is nothing you can realistically hope to achieve by playing any other shot.  If you are several shots down and there is no way you can significantly lower the count against you, there are several favourable outcomes that could come from a drive.   Best of all you might be able to displace your opponents counters and spring the jack for a trail, taking shot or even ending up with a count yourself.  More realistically you might ditch the jack and follow it in, or take the jack out of the confines of the rink and kill the end - an excellent result when you are facing a count.  Because of the unpredictability of the outcome, it is important not to rush into the drive without weighing all the alternatives.  For example, it is generally not a good idea to drive if you are only a single shot down, even if you have a couple of second woods, you might hit them instead and go down by a handful.  Another instance where the drive is effective is where your opponent may have shots around the jack but not in front. in which case if you attempt to drive the jack into the ditch and miss, you may well clear out one or more of his bowls.

The drive is aimed straight at the target, and so must be delivered with sufficient pace to nullify the effect of the bias

  • A good lead is invariably a good singles player
  • For the lead, two useful bowls in the head is more  important  than gaining shot
  • The no.2 is the anchorman of the team
  • The no. 3 is effectively vice-skip
  • The skip is solely responsible for tactics
  • Accurate drawing is the key to singles success
  • Play to your opponent’s weaknesses as well as your own strengths
  • It is generally advisable to avoid  heavy shots in the opening stages
  • If you fall behind, do not resort to "all or nothing" shots.
  • In pairs, the lead plays every bit as important a role as the skip

Good Shot!!!

Willing the last bowl home!!!


Bottom of Form

d your main content here - text, photos, videos, addons, whatever you want!


Click to add text, images, and other content

Members Area

Open Pairs. Saturday 21st July, 2018.

No upcoming events

Recent Blog Entries

Recent Photos

Recent Forum Posts